According to a survey of 5,000 Tesla Model 3 owners, the top reason that they are selling their cars and switching to a different brand is due to their issues with Tesla co-founder and CEO Elon Musk, Electrek reported.
Over 21% of people surveyed listed “disapproval of Elon Musk” as their top reason for walking away from Tesla. However, an additional 17.8% listed “unhappy with Tesla’s brand perception” as their top reason.
Given that Musk has positioned himself as the public face of the company, it seems reasonable to assume that for some customers, those two things are related.
In the past, Musk has attempted to brand himself as an independent or politically bipartisan, but he has leaned increasingly into extreme stances in recent years. He has latched onto conspiracy theories regarding the COVID-19 vaccine and consistently promoted transphobia, along with a range of other behaviors that could be deemed controversial by many Tesla owners.
All of this, it seems, has led some consumers to avoid the electric car brand. While it is certainly possible that the CEOs and shareholders of other carmakers share some similar views with Musk, none of them is as willing to publicly broadcast them.
In years past, people who wanted to buy a battery electric vehicle had few choices but Tesla. Now, major automakers are making their own EVs, giving environmentally-minded consumers a lot of options.
Hundreds of Electrek’s commenters weighed in on the issue, with many lending credence to the idea that Elon Musk is driving potential customers away from Tesla.
“We’re a perfect example of the damage to the brand,” one commenter wrote. “Have 3 Teslas. Instead of buying a 4th one, we didn’t buy a new S to replace our original S, canceled our order on a Y, and have a deposit in on the Rivian SUV instead. A good friend of ours was going to buy a Tesla, but just couldn’t stomach it because of Elon Musk. Ended up buying another car.”
“It’s not just his vitriolic and crazy social media antics. It’s also his mercurial and sometimes churlish decisions when it comes to (non-Twitter sycophant) customer concerns,” another wrote. “Sure, people like me are extremely happy overall with our Model 3s. But Musk’s overall behavior is negatively affecting demand for Tesla cars by first time buyers.”
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